Filmes caboverdianos, ou sobre Cabo Verde

Films made in Cape Verde, or by Capeverdeans

Compiled by Olav Aalberg, badiu “at”
Updated August 2009


1      Ficção. 1

2      Documentários. 2

3      Fintar O Destino (Dribbling Fate) 2

4      Sambizanga. 4

5      Some kind of funny "Porto Rican. 4

6      Francisco Manso: O Testamento do Sr. Napumoceno. 5

7      Homes of the lava (Casas da Lava). 6

8      Moia o recado das ilhas. 6

9      Mortu Nega (Those Whom Death Refused) 7

10        Blue Eyes of Yonta. 8

11        Nha fala. 9

12        África minha. 12

13        Labanta Tabanka. 14


15        “Ilha dos Escravos” 15

16    “Viola Pó” de Mito, doc., Cabo Verde, 2002, 8’ 40”. 15

17    “Mostram bu luz” de Mito, doc., Cabo Verde, 2001, 5’ 09” 15

18    “Na pundi ki bu naci pa nácia” de Mito, videoclip, Cabo Verde, 2001, 7’ 59”. 15

19    O Arquitecto e a Cidade Velha” de Catarina Alves Costa, doc., Portugal, 2003, 72’ 15

20    “O espírito de Angra” de Carlos Brandão Lucas, doc., Portugal, 2003, 52’ 15


1           Ficção

Sambizanga -one of the most important films on black resistance in Africa. An impressive debut by a woman director, co-scripted by her resistance leader husband. Set just before the 1961 uprising against the Portuguese colonialists, the story centers on a young woman’s search for her jailed husband. A tale of separation and brutality, which, through Maldoror’s skill, becomes overwhelmingly affirmative. Read about this here:

Angola, 1972. 102 mins. Color. Rental: 175

In Portuguese with English subtitles.

2           Documentários


One festival highlight will be the early documentaries of Mario "Marty" Rose and Alfred J. Gomes.
The films of Mr. Rose and Mr. Gomes, some of which haven't been seen in 50 years, document life on Cape Verde and in New Bedford's Cape Verdean community. They are likely to draw intense interest from local people for whom they will represent undiscovered "home movies."

3           Fintar O Destino (Dribbling Fate)

Fintar O Destino has the distinction of being the Library of African Cinema's first sports film - but a sports film with a decidedly African twist. It is the story, familiar from countless Hollywood movies and therefore easily accessible to American audiences, of an over the hill sports hero who holds onto his past so strongly he destroys his present. Think of Marlon Brando's famous lament from On the Waterfront, "I could've been a contender." At the same time, this film explores a much more general tension, personal and political, between remaining true to one's dreams or making the best of the limited opportunities around us. In Fintar o Destino this dilemma is posed in terms of an entire nation: whether Cape Verdeans should accept life on these isolated islands or should pursue their often unrealistic ambitions overseas. Indeed, this is a conflict faced by more and more people in the poorer countries of an increasingly mobile world.

In Fintar O Destino character and fate are geographic, bound up with the unique history of the Cape Verde Islands. These ten volcanic islands located three hundred miles off the most westerly point of Africa were uninhabited until the Portuguese discovered them in 1462. They soon grew into a bustling port of call between Africa, Europe and the Americas developing a highly Creolized mulatto population. Since the islands have never been economically self-sufficient, emigration has been a central fact of Cape Verdeans' lives; islanders have established communities around the Atlantic, the largest one in southern New England. Cape Verdeans, most notably Amilcar Cabral, played a leading role in the liberation of their islands and Guinea-Bissau from Portuguese rule in 1973, as dramatized in another new lusophone release, Mortu Nega. But independence could not overcome financial dependency: today a majority of islanders live abroad and remittances from the West play a major role in the fragile economy. In the film, an old schoolteacher observes that "on an island men fear staying more than leaving." Perhaps this is the "dribbling fate" of the title, the islanders' sense of just passing time, waiting for the big chance to move.

For many young men, the most exciting, if not realistic route off the island is to become a sports star, the illusory promise followed by so many inner city youth in this country, poignantly depicted in Hoop Dreams. The film's opening shot symbolizes this as we see a boy hoeing the island's arid volcanic soil only to realize he is actually marking out a soccer field. For the older men who have not found a way off the island, the only remaining escape is to live vicariously through the fortunes of their favorite team ignoring the mundane life all around them. The central character of the film, Mané, owns an unprofitable "sports bar" in Mindelo on the island of Saö Vicente, whose denizens are overgrown adolescents seemingly with little to do but root for Benfica, a major Portuguese team. Mané actually turned down an invitation to try out for Benfica in 1959 in order to marry a local girl; as a result his whole life has been consumed by regret, sinking into alcoholism, improvidence and an unhappy marriage. His situation finds an echo in the younger generation with Kalu, a talented teenager Mané is coaching who must decide whether to continue his rigorous training, emigrate to America or pursue a beautiful island ingenue.

Mané develops an obsession that the only way Benfica can win the national championships is if he is present in the stadium in Lisbon. He steals money which his wife has painstakingly been saving, abandons her at home and flies to Portugal where he inevitably learns the lesson that it is always dangerous to test one's dreams against reality. In Portugal, he looks up an old friend, Americo, who accepted an invitation to play for Benfica and who has become something of a legend in Mindelo. Mané finds him a broken man living in a shack by the Tagus who pitifully asks him for change. In Lisbon, Mané stays with his upwardly mobile son, Alberto and his Portuguese wife. Alberto confesses he has always resented his father for neglecting his wife and children in favor of his soccer fanaticism. When Mané tries to compensate by attending his grandson's birthday party, he misses the big game; Benfica wins anyhow.

Mané returns to Mindelo penniless and chastened. But, unlike an American film, Fintar o Destino is not so simplistic or moralistic as to suggest that Mané will be converted from a dreamer to a man of practicality. Life is obviously a tension between these extremes and any world needs both. Mané apologizes for his neglect of his family but not for his life-long romance with football and he continues to encourage Kalu to pursue the dream of becoming a soccer player. In the final scene, Mané mounts a bicycle which his friends have ridiculed because it can only pedal around the island but never get off it. He answers them with what could be his credo: "you can go anywhere you like with your imagination." Our last image of Mané is of him bicycling down a long pier heedless of Kalu's warning that there is no way off, waving to us joyfully, following his dreams quixotically towards that sea from which no one returns.

4           Sambizanga

Directed by Sarah Maldoror

One of the most important films on black resistance in Africa. An impressive debut by a woman director, co-scripted by her resistance leader husband. Set just before the 1961 uprising against the Portuguese colonialists, the story centers on a young woman’s search for her jailed husband. A tale of separation and brutality, which, through Maldoror’s skill, becomes overwhelmingly affirmative. Angola, 1972. 102 mins. Color. Rental: 175
In Portuguese with English subtitles.

5           Some kind of funny "Porto Rican

Produced and Directed by Claire Andrade-Watkins  English
The title, Some kind of funny "Porto Rican " is derived from an actual comment made many, many years ago. My beau's brother was a student at Brown University in Providence, RI. Upon learning that his brother had met a Cape Verdean girl from Providence, the Brown student replied, "Cape Verdean? Oh, there are a lot of them around here, they're some kind of funny "Porto Ricans." (note: spelling of "Porto" is the way it was pronounced, hence the spelling in the title). This is a classic example of the (mis)perceptions of Cape Verdean Americans. Rich anecdotal stories like this abound, adding texture and shape to the reflections, observations and experiences--joyous and painful--of growing up in this close, self-contained New England community.

The community of Fox Point was situated near the waterfront and the Port of Providence. Clustered in tenements, families, relatives and friends lived within shouting distance of one another. Once a bustling port for loose cargo-lumber, coal, scrap iron-most of the men from the Point "worked the boats" as proud members of the Longshoremen's Union Local l329.

Three generations of Cape Verdeans were born and raised in this tight knit neighborhood that stretched along the waterfront. Uprooted by urban renewal in the l970s, the disbanded Cape Verdeans scattered to other parts of Rhode Island. Yet Fox Point remains "home" - at least in heart and spirit-for Cape Verdeans who lived "down the Point." SOME KIND OF FUNNY "PORTO RICAN"?
© chronicles this community's history, music, ties to the old country, and the maritime/seafaring traditions, especially the longshoremen, who "worked the boats" in the Port of Providence. The narrative vehicle for SKFPR is my childhood memories of family, friends, textures and sounds of the l950s, l960s and early l970s in the Cape Verdean Fox Point section of Providence, Rhode Island.

SKFPR does not attempt to be the definitive word on the "Cape Verdean" experience. What the project endeavors to do is to tell a story that is rich in human experience and scholarly detail. The search for visual material for this project has been an ongoing hunt for over twenty years.

I have gone door to door, following leads of family and friends: sometimes crawling through basements and attics, and in one instance prying 8mm black and white footage of Brava, Cape Verde in the l950s from a reluctant cousin's attic. Through a more cooperative uncle, I was given the use of his 8mm family archive spanning thirty years of family events and holidays. Other finds include priceless photographs, many going back to the late l890s, journals, newspaper clippings and a pristine collection of beautiful 8mm color film of the Fox Point community in the late l950s and l960s and of the longshoremen "working the boats" in the Port of Providence. Most exciting is the 8mm footage of the famed ERNESTINA, a two-master Gloucester schooner, the last packet ship to regularly sail to New England, and a legend in Cape Verdean folklore. Another highlight is the voices from the oral histories with the "old-timers" I have conducted over the years. Now that many are deceased, their voices are an even more valuable part of this story.

Between May 29 to June l, 2000, we completed the last phase of production in Providence Rhode Island, thanks to a wonderful crew, support from the Cape Verdean community, friends, family and colleagues. Although the total funds needed for this shoot fell short, we had to shoot. Too many of our old-timers who remembered the old Fox Point and the three generations of families who lived there, were beginning to fail or slip away. It's been a race against time since we began shooting in l995, little by little time as funds were raised. However, these competitively awarded grants and private donations, provided only partial funding.

Post-production, is being done largely through pro bono or deferred payments by friends andolleagues. However, the online final edit for the broadcast quality version, and other costs that can't be deferred, leaves us trying to find approximately $25,000. Editing began in earnest June, 2001, with a fall target date. Upon completion, we plan to enter the film in major national and international film festivals. WSBE-TV 36, Rhode Island's PBS affiliate will broadcast the program in southern New England, and plans are underway to tackle other PBS affiliates nationally.

Your support and contributions would be much appreciated! Every little bit helps. Visit our donation page for more information on tax deductible contributions.

Claire Andrade-Watkins, Producer/Director
Boyd Estus, Director of Cinematography
Academy Award, The Flight of the Gossamer Condor; Academy Awary nominee, "Eight Minutes to Midnight." 
Sound Recordists John Cameron, John Garrett Lead Editor, Robert Todd

6           Francisco Manso: O Testamento do Sr. Napumoceno

A lush "Testamento" to life and love on Cape Verde

 By Renée Graham, Globe Staff, 06/19/98


 "Testamento" is a lush, beautiful film about the life and loves of a

 wealthy Cape Verdean businessman, played with panache by Nelson Xavier,

 and the effect his death has on several townspeople.


 Told mainly in flashback, it is the story of Napumoceno de Silva Araujo, a

 self-made man who found his fortune in an import-export business. When his

 housekeeper finds him dead one morning, her screams alert the city of

 Mindelo that their most prominent citizen has died.


 Especially anguished is Mari Chica (Via Negromente), a former servant with

 whom Napumoceno had a brief affair. That union produced a child, Graca

 (Maria Ceica), who is now a grown woman. She knew about Napumoceno, but

 only as the man who would follow her from time to time and try to engage

 her in conversation. She thought him a pervert, and realizes he was her

 father only when he makes her the sole heir of his multimillion-dollar



 She is shocked by his generosity but not as shocked as his nephew, Carlos

 (Chico Diaz), who as Napumoceno's only living relative had designs on that

 money and the business.


 Graca is also left with a series of cassette tapes on which her father

 tells her the story of his life, from his arrival as a barefoot boy in

 Mindelo to the establishment of his business, forged after an accidental

 shipment of umbrellas (in a city where it never rains) makes him a

 success. She also learns why Napumoceno disinherited Carlos.


 The film jumps from the present to the past without losing its audience,

 and the cinematography of the breathtaking landscapes of Cape Verde is



 All of the performances are stellar, especially Xavier's. He is so

 charming, so passionate, it is easy to believe how each woman, from an

 American tourist to Adelia (Karla Leal), a beautiful 21-year-old who

 forever steals his heart when he is 61, would fall for such a man.


 And if all of this weren't enough, there is a performance by Cesaria

 Evora, "the barefoot diva" of Cape Verde, who sings a song as

 appropriately rich and sad as "Testamento."

 (Boston Globe)


Sun. 4/19 7..00pm

7           Homes of the lava (Casas da Lava).

Portugal 1994
A Cape Verdean construction worker is injured and taken to the hospital in Lisbon. Upon his recobery his nurse accompanies him in the medical airlift back to Cape Verde, where they go in search of his identity. In the lava strewn villages of his native island, Fogo, the pair finds the unexpected.
DIRECTED BY PEDRO COSTA . with Ines de Medeiros


8           Moia o recado das ilhas

35mm Fiction Couleur 1h30 Rui DUARTE 1989
Angola C’est l’itinéraire d’une intellectuelle créole, née en Angola, de parents du Cap Vert. Devant rentrer de Lisbonne à Luanda, elle s’arrête dans les îles du Cap Vert à la recherche de ses racines ethniques et culturelles. Dans ce lieu où se mêlent races et cultures, des personnages shakespeariens et des récits traditionnels traduisent en images des thèmes éternels : le besoin irrésistible de liberté et le rapport entre dominants et dominés.

The story of a Creole intellectual who was born in Angola and whose parents come from Cape Verde. Having to travel from Lisbon back to Luanda, she stops off in Cape Verde and goes in search of her ethnic and cultural roots. In this place where different races and cultures mingle, Shakespearean characters and traditional tales evoke eternal themes: the irresistible need for freedom and the relations between the dominated and the dominators

Réalisation / Director : Rui DUARTE - Scénario / Screenwriter : Rui DUARTE - Image / Photography : Joao Abel ABOIM - Montage / Editing : Cris Tullio ALTAN - Musique / Music : Vasco MARTINS - Son / Sound : Paolo de JESUS Yves GRASSO - Interprétation / Cast : Edmea BRIGHAM Tchale FIGUEIRA Simeano MONTROND Romana EVORA Luis MORAIS Leao LOPES Margarida MARTINS Sao COSTA Joana LIMA- Production / Producer : Gemini Films (France) Filmargem (Portugal) RTP (Portugal) Laboratorio Nacional de Cinema-UEE (Angola)

Contacts Production / Producer Distribution / Distributor : Gemini Films 34 Boulevard Sébastopol 75004 Paris Tél : 01 44 54 17 17 Fax : 01 44 54 96 66

(Tchale Figueira deltar)


Flora Gomes, The Blue Eyes of Yonta (1995) - kjempebra filmmusikk av Super Mama Djombo!!! og

 Pô di Sangui (Cannes 1996) (Gomes og filmene er fra Guinea-Bissau)

 om Gomes:

9            Mortu Nega (Those Whom Death Refused)


California Newsreel has released Flora Gomes' now classic, Mortu Nega, to commemorate three starkly dissimilar events. 1998 marked both the 25th anniversary of the independence of Guinea-Bissau and the assasination of its leader Amilcar Cabral but it was also the year that country virtually annihilated itself in a brutal civil war. Produced in 1988 near the midpoint of these dates, Mortu Nega, as its title implies, is a unique kind of elegy - not so much to the victims of the liberation struggle as to its survivors. Like the Zimbabwean film Flame (1996) and Gomes' own more disillusioned second feature Udju Azul di Yonta (1991), it is a bittersweet eulogy to those veterans who gave so much yet often benefited so little from the struggle. The film poses a question facing much of Africa at the start of the 21st century: with the goal of independence achieved, what can serve as an equally unifying and compelling vision around which to construct a new society? Or as Chris Marker observed in his 1980 documentary San Soleil, coincidentally contemplating the decay of Guinea-Bissau's revolution: "What every revolutionary thinks the morning after victory: now the real problems begin."

Mortu Nega covers the period from January 1973 during the closing months of the war against the Portuguese until the consolidation of an independent Guinea-Bissau in 1974 and 1975. This tiny West African nation's valiant struggle and eventual triumph over 500 years of Portuguese domination attracted international support and heralded the final anti-colonial wave culminating in the defeat of apartheid in 1994. The revolution's charismatic leader, the Cape Verdean agronomist, Amilcar Cabral, was assassinated on the eve of victory in January 1973 by Portuguese assisted mainland nationalists. The fragile union between Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde islands itself was finally dissolved in a bloodless military coup in 1980 led by an old guerilla commander, the present president, João Bernardo Vieira. When the post-revolutionary generation in the military and the population as a whole began to oppose Vieira's increasingly kleptocratic regime, he called in troops from Senegal and Guinea (Conakry) resulting in the carnage of June, 1998.

Mortu Nega can be divided into three "movements" each with a style reflecting a distinct stage in the revolutionary process. The film begins mysteriously someplace in the bush on the supply road from Conakry to the front. A convoy weaves its way through tall grasses camouflaging itself like Mao's "fish in the sea." Gomes' portrayal of guerilla war is one of the most accurate on film, capturing its tedium, terror and heroism, its rhythm of fragile silences broken by helicopter fire from above or exploding landmines from below. In this war of attrition with the Portuguese, the exhausted militants press forward along a unclear, even circuitous path, directed only by their vision of a free Guinea-Bissau. Throughout this section, the emphasis is on the group over the individual. Only after five minutes, does a heroine, Diminga, emerge and the story of her unflagging loyalty to her husband, Sako, a wounded guerilla commander, serves to underline the sense of solidarity developed among the freedom fighters.

After demobilization, the veterans return to a world with very different values, the static world of village life, where people are divided by property and self-interest, where commerce takes the place of camaraderie. It seems ironic that now that the revolution has reached its destination it has lost its sense of direction. For example, when soldiers distribute free rice it immediately passes into corrosive black-market profiteering. A drought descends on the country, perhaps symbolizing the drying up of revolutionary fervor. Sako's old war wound turns gangrenous, just as the body politic has become diseased. He ruefully observes that during war his feet carried him across the country but in peace he can't make his way across his yard.

Gomes dramatizes the two paths the revolution can take when Sako is taken to Bissau for treatment and asks Diminga to seek the help of two old comrades. One, a pipe-smoking bureaucrat, fears he's being asked for money and pretends not to recognize Sako's name; the other unhesitatingly puts himself, his car and driver at his old comrade's disposal. Back in the village, a young literacy teacher asks, "What does 'luta' mean?" A woman responds that struggle for her is feeding her child each day. Sako answers that struggle for him was fighting the Portuguese. The teacher concludes: "For you the struggle was yesterday, for her the struggle is today. A luta continua - the struggle continues." The revolution must evolve.

In the third movement, the film abandons the world of history for that of myth; the long march of war and the halting steps of national development are transformed literally into dance. Diminga has a prophetic dream which is interpreted to mean that the drought can only be lifted through the "beckoning of the ancestors." Here Gomes, as the PAIGC itself frequently did, adapts to political purposes a traditional religious ritual, the invocation of Djon Cago, a deity of the Balanta people, Guinea-Bissau's largest ethnic group inhabiting the rice growing region south of the Geba estuary. Diminga, appeals to the dead on behalf of "the generation of sorrows...of those whom death refused," to reveal who is stirring up ethnic strife, committing crimes in the name of the party, desiring "the death of the baobab," that is, the revolution. The film is too discrete to name names or perhaps this is a ritual exorcism of all the people of Guinea-Bissau; in any case, by 1988 everyone knew who was responsible. The ritual succeeds in breaking the drought and in the final shot the children dance in a downpour.

Gomes' next film, Udju Azul di Yonta, ends with a similar scene; the by-now thoroughly disillusioned and enervated revolutionary generation dream, hung-over beside a swimming pool, while the children of Bissau dance off pursuing their own dreams. By ending both films with a shift from narrative to symbol, Gomes seems to be saying that for the nation to rediscover a sense of direction requires a rupture with the corrupt political discourse of the present and a reaffirmation of the primordial values unifying the people. Even if the Diancongo rite is not a literal deus ex machina but simply an invocation of some sort of Jungian "collective unconscious;" Gomes seems here to rely on a mythopoeyic rather than a political solution. It is no doubt unfair to point out that atavistic values do not seem to have saved the country from the tragedy of the past 25 years. Cabral himself probably imagined some sort of socialist development path growing out of the collective institutions he improvised in the liberated zones. But he also foresaw the dangers of "mountaintopism," a self-interested, centralized bureaucracy ignoring the daily needs of grassroot producers. In any case, by 1988 socialism had collapsed and nothing but neo-liberal structural adjustment policies had taken its place. Thus the question which Gomes raises and answers only symbolically, continues to face Africans, indeed anyone, looking for a path towards a more just society. A luta does indeed continua.

(The most thorough introduction to this period of Guinea-Bissau's history is Warriors at Work, by Mustafah Dhada, University Press of Colorado, 1993.)

10        Blue Eyes of Yonta

 (Udju Azul Di Yonta)


 Director : Flora Gomes

 Beyond the story, the true heroine of this film is the city of Bissau. In this shifting space - upon which prowls the fear of dismissals and unemployment - we meet Yonta, a young girl who silently loves a friend of her parents, a former hero of his countries struggle for independence. Vicente will never be aware of the passion he arouses and Yonta will never

 learn of the feelings of a young man on the waterfront, Ze, who sends her wild love letters, but anonymous ones. The shadow of Nando, a disenchanted hero of the past, runs through this story in which the only winners, the bearers of all hopes, are the smiling children of Bissau, who are constantly blooming.


Several films in this catalog - Hyenas, Saaraba, Zan Boko, Allah Tantou and Afrique, je te plumerai - are set against the backdrop of the shattered dreams of African independence. But Udju Azul di Yonta (The Blue Eyes of Yonta) is one of the few recent African films to make the disillusionment of the revolutionary generation its primary subject - and offer a glimmer of hope for the future. Flora Gomes (born 1949) is a member of the generation which fought for Guinea-Bissau's independence. This director's first feature film, indeed the first feature film made in Guinea-Bissau, Mortu Nega (Those Whom Death Refused) , commemorates that nation's arduous independence struggle, while hinting at its subsequent bureaucratization. Udju Azul di Yonta can be seen as a continuation and commentary on this film.

In Udju Azul di Yonta, the most compelling character is Vicente, a disenchanted hero of the independence struggle who has only grudgingly adapted himself to post-revolutionary society. He is a figure with whom many disappointed Western '60s activists will identify. As "Comrade Boss" of a fish warehouse, he continues to work for the development of his country against staggering odds. A power outage (a recurrent motif in the film) has spoiled an entire catch of fish and the fishermen and fishmongers are furious. Corruption and kickbacks have become rampant in the city; unbridled free market capitalism is triumphant. Vicente confesses to an old comrade, "We thought the revolution was for everyone, but it is only here for a few of us." Despairing at his own compromised ideals, he exclaims, "Vicente no longer exists; I am a vulture," devouring the carcass of his revolutionary hopes.

Vicente is so despondent he doesn't notice that Yonta, the beautiful daughter of two of his old comrades, is infatuated with him. Yonta represents the generation which has grown up since liberation whose heads are full of dreams of fashion, music and European affluence. In fact, one of the guilty pleasures of this film is noting how revolutionary culture has given way to stunning couture.

Yonta, for her part, is unaware of the attentions of a third character, Zé, a poor student from the country., He anonymously sends her love poems cribbed from a book written about a Swedish girl. One reads, "In the cold long nights when snow caresses your windows...the blue of your eyes is the immensity of the sky over my life." The younger generation's incongruous dreams give the film its striking title.

Flora Gomes identifies a fourth important character, "quite an unusual one, who gradually changes everything, the motion and color of the film: it is Bissau, the capital city of Guinea-Bissau, where I have always lived...For fifteen years, while I reluctantly grew older, I saw Bissau recovering its youth almost every day. I heard it switching to another language, another dream, another aim."

A reluctance to abandon old dreams results in the tragi-comic rejection of present opportunities. A distraught Vicente vilifies Yonta: "You have replaced ideals with clothes and night clubs." And she retorts: "It's not my fault if your ideals are spoiled. I want to be free to chose - isn't that what you fought for?" The film doesn't end, however, with an endorsement of Yonta's fascination with Western consumer culture. In the penultimate scene, Zé finally encounters Yonta; he angrily demands his poem back saying it doesn't make sense anymore. He warns Yonta that time will pass her by if she doesn't accept the opportunities offered by the real world.

The ending of Udju Azul di Yonta is one of the most unexpected in recent African cinema and can justifiably be described as "Felliniesque." The high society of Bissau gathers for an absurd European style reception around a swimming pool, bathed in an otherworldly azure glow. Then in the harsh light of the morning after, they sleep slouched in their deckchairs, hungover with history, while fishermen vainly cast their nets in this artificial pool and Vincente sits dejectedly on its edge. Suddenly, Yonta and the children of Bissau begin to dance around the pool, past their dreaming elders and into an uncharted future. And perhaps we recall the film began with these same children rolling inner-tubes numbered with each year since independence through the streets of Bissau: a striking image of history's anarchy and unpredictability.

Udju Azul di Yonta can, in a sense, only end by leaving the world of narrative for that of symbol. The director cannot and will not try to dictate history's direction. All that remains is the faith that the young will come up with dreams of their own, dreams which, Flora Gomes hopes, will not hold them hostage, but inspire them to make something real in the real Africa all around them.


FLORA GOMES born in 1949 in Guine-Bissau.  In 1972, he trained in cinematography at the Institute Cubano das Artes under the guidence of Santiago Alvarez. He co-directored with Sergio Pina in 1977 and in 1978 with Sana N'hada. In 1987 he directed his first film, MORTU NEGA and won many awards, amongst them the International Festival of Aveiro 1990.

He also directed the film MASCARAS.



 Anne-Laure Folly, Women With Open Eyes

 Jean-Marie Teno, Africa, I Will Fleece You

 Bassek ba Kobhio, The Village Teacher

 David Achkar, Gods Will

 Adama Drabo, Fire!

 Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Quartier Mozart  (Kamerun) Morsom..

 Moussa Sebe Absa, Rocking Popenguine

 Djibril Diop Mambety, Hyenas

 Gaston Kabore, Gods Gift  Wend Kuuni



11        Nha fala

Flora Gomes



An aspiring singer from Guinea Bissau heads for Paris.

Directed by FLORA GOMES

Starring Fatou N'Diaye, Jean-Christophe Dollé, Angelo Torres, Bia Gomes

Produced by Luis Galvao Teles, Jani Thiltges, & Serge Zeitoun (Guinea Bissau/Portugal/France/Luxembourg)

Screenplay (in Portuguese) by Flora Gomes & Franck Moisnard

Production Design by Veronique Sacrez

Photography (Color) by Edgar Moura

Edited by Dominique Paris

Music by Manu Dibango

Festivals (Prizes):

Venice 02: In Competition (Magic Lantern Prize), Amiens 02 (Metropole Prize, SIGNIS Prize), Nantes 02, L.A. African 03, Ouagadougou 03 (Special Prize)

World Premiere/Country/Distributor/Censors/FirstWkend/Screens:

2002 Festival Fado

Running Time: 1:30

Genres: Musical Drama

Critics: *** / 5

TheMovieTimes: Fresh.

Flora Gomes’ Nha Fala/My Voice (France) is dedicated to the memory of Amilcar Cabral—poet, politician, and assassinated leader of a liberation movement in Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau (and also the subject of a documentary short that played the festival this year)—the film is a musical with sharp political edges. The heroine, Vita (model-beautiful Fatou N’Diaye), is about to leave her home in Guinea-Bissau to study in France. Before she goes, her mother reminds her of the family curse: The women of the clan must not sing—to do so leads to their death. As Vita is saying her goodbyes, the neighborhood again and again bursts into song, which director Gomes captures in a swirl of color and movement. (The music is by the great African musician Manu Dibango.) The film’s bite lies largely in the songs’ lyrics: stinging commentary on repressive and corrupt governments, unemployment, and the dearth of opportunity in modern Africa. The perils of globalization burn beneath these infectious grooves. "Build coffins," says Vita. "The only sure thing in this country is death." Yet the film is never less than upbeat, and late in Nha Fala, a song about death makes for one of the most joyous, life-affirming moments to unfold on the big screen in ages.


"Nha Fala" conquista prémio em Veneza


Nha Fala, o filme do realizador guineense Flora Gomes, esteve presente no passado dia 7 de Setembro, na 59ª edição do festival de Veneza onde conquistou o prémio "Citta Di Roma-Arco Íris Latino".

Este prémio atribuído pelo Instituto Internacional do Cinema e do Audiovisual dos países Latinos-fundado e presidido por Gillo Pontecorvo-foi criado em 2001, em Veneza, com o objectivo de estimular a produção, difusão e comercialização do cinema de cultura latina. O filme de Flora Gomes recebeu ainda um outro prémio designado "Lanterna Mágica".

Nha Fala que significa "Minha voz", "Meu destino", "Minha vida", "Meu caminho" é a quarta longa metragem deste realizador depois de "Mortu Nega", "Os Olhos Azuis de Yonta" e, "Po di Sangui".

Este filme é uma comédia musical cheia de alegria, humor e optimismo, onde a heroína Vita é interpretada por Fatou N’Daye. A banda sonora é do lendário Manu Dibango.

"Em África diz-se que nada funciona. Quis mostrar qualquer coisa que mexesse, a música, e render homenagem a todos os músicos sobretudo a Manu Dibongo" declarou o realizador numa conferência de imprensa no Lido "Quis falar de uma África positiva, onde se morre mas também se ri."

Nha Fala conta a história de uma rapariga proibida de cantar pelos pais, consequência de uma maldição ancestral que condena á morte toda a mulher da família que ouse quebrar esse tabu. Ao optar por estudar em França, Vita resolve cantar e gravar um CD, cujo sucesso é imediato. Com medo que a sua mãe descubra que quebrou a promessa, decide voltar e encenar a sua própria morte para melhor ressuscitar .

É uma história contemporânea que pretende construir uma ponte entre Europa e África, e representa uma nova geração que respeita as tradições mas que quer viver no seu tempo.

Este filme é uma co-produção entre Portugal, França e Luxemburgo e conta com o apoio do Instituto Camões.


Music by Manu Dibango


Festivals (Prizes):

Venice 02: In Competition (Magic Lantern Prize), Amiens 02 (Metropole Prize, SIGNIS Prize), Nantes 02, L.A. African 03, Ouagadougou 03 (Special Prize), Fribourg 03, S.F. 03, Montreal African 03 (Best Film), N.Y. Tribeca 03  



"Nha fala": l'Afrique (en)chantée et optimiste de Flora Gomes

Alors que seuls des bruits de guerre parviennent en général d'Afrique, le Bissau Guinéen Flora Gomes fait retentir les échos joyeux d'une comédie musicale optimiste avec "Nha fala", dont l'héroïne Vita est interprétée par Fatou N'Daye, révélée par "Fatou la Malienne" de Daniel Vigne.

"En Afrique, on dit que rien ne marche. J'ai voulu montrer quelque chose qui bouge, la musique, rendre hommage à tous les musiciens et surtout à Manu Dibango (le créateur de Soul Makossa, ndlr)", déclare le réalisateur de "Mortu nega", "Les yeux bleus de Yonta" et "Po di sangui". Je voulais parler d'une Afrique positive, où on meurt mais où on rit aussi", ajoute-t-il.

Vita quitte les îles du Cap Vert et Yano (Angelo Torres), un "fiancé" affairiste, pour aller étudier en France. Elle a juré à sa mère qu'elle ne chanterait jamais car une légende veut que toute femme de la famille qui chantera mourra. A Paris, elle rencontre Pierre, un jeune musicien, et se met à fredonner. Puis elle enregistre un disque, dont le succès est immédiat.

Craignant que sa mère n'apprenne qu'elle a trahi sa promesse, Vita décide de rentrer au pays et d'organiser avec Pierre ses propres funérailles pour mieux ressusciter...

Porteur d'espoir

"Nha fala" veut dire à la fois ma voix, mon destin, ma vie, et mon chemin, précise le réalisateur dont c'est le quatrième long métrage. "Ces notions, porteuses d'espoir, se transforment souvent en autant d'incertitudes pour les jeunes d'un pays comme la Guinée-Bissau".

Sous couvert de musique, de danse et de rires, le cinéaste, formé à Cuba et au Sénégal, évoque en effet les pièges de l'émigration et la corruption. Yona, le nouveau riche, fier de sa rutilante voiture rouge, croit qu'il peut tout obtenir. Il s'engraisse en créant une pénurie artificielle de riz pour faire monter les prix.

Symboliquement, pendant tout le film deux hommes se promènent avec un buste d'Amilcar Cabral, le père de l'indépendance de la Guinée Bissau et du Cap Vert, assassiné il y a 30 ans, sans lui trouver une place. Le réalisateur a d'ailleurs un projet sur ce héros, assassiné peu de temps avant l'indépendance des anciennes colonies portugaises.

Pour "Nha fala", coproduction entre le Portugal, la France et le Luxembourg, tourné en français et en créole portugais, Flora Gomes a fait un casting à Lisbonne, à Paris et au Cap Vert.

La jeune actrice franco-sénégalaise Fatou représente, dit-il, "la jeune génération qui respecte les traditions mais veut vivre avec son temps" car "Nha fala" est "une histoire contemporaine qui jette un pont entre l'Europe et l'Afrique, entre le Sud et le Nord".

Evoquant les difficultés du cinéma africain, Flora Gomes souligne que "certains réalisateurs n'ont pas pu faire de films depuis dix ans, faute de politique culturelle en Afrique".


© 2003 AFP. Tous droits de reproduction et de représentation réservés. Toutes les informations reproduites dans cette rubrique (dépêches, photos, logos) sont protégées par des droits de propriété intellectuelle détenus par l'AFP. Par conséquent, aucune de ces informations ne peut être reproduite, modifiée, rediffusée, traduite, exploitée commercialement ou réutilisée de quelque manière que ce soit sans l'accord préalable écrit de l'AFP.

12        África minha

 Por VASCO CÂMARASexta, 13 de Julho de 2001

É um programa para ver imagens e para ouvir os ritmos de África. No pátio do B.Leza, em Lisboa, todas as quintas-feiras, às 22h30. Aí se estreará "Mais Alma", da documentarista Catarina Alves Costa. É um olhar transbordante sobre Cabo Verde.

Andam os (cineastas) portugueses (de novo) à procura de África - nas longas-metragens, nas curtas, na ficção ou no documentário? Imagine-se um ciclo temático e não faltarão, para programar, exemplos vários de viagens a esse continente ou tentativas várias de (re)encontrar África aqui mesmo, em Portugal - por exemplo, nos bairros onde se juntam as comunidades descendentes de imigrantes das ex-colónias. Neste momento decorre no pátio do B.Leza, em Lisboa, a iniciativa "As Noites do Documentário", que exibe ao ar livre uma série de documentários que revelam um olhar sobre a cultura africana, ou sobre algumas comunidades representadas em Lisboa, através das suas músicas e danças. A projecção é seguida de espectáculos e música ao vivo.

Foi um convite do B.Leza à programadora independente Negra Azul, e, assim, todas as quintas-feiras, até 16 de Agosto, às 22h30, esse olhar viaja entre Cabo Verde, Angola e Portugal. Num desses filmes, que vai ser exibido em antestreia, "Mais Alma", de Catarina Alves Costa (19 de Julho), há uma sequência em que um cabo-verdiano tatua no peito o mapa de África. "É mais ou menos assim", diz ele. Mas, afinal, quem é que procura o quê em Cabo Verde? Estará a realizadora, 33 anos, a querer também dizer: "África minha"?

"Não tenho passado em África", responde a documentarista, assim recusando qualquer sentimento próximo de um hipotético apelo ancestral. "Se se fala em origens, então as minhas origens estão na burguesia do Porto, não em África. Por isso, não, não tenho qualquer nostalgia."

Dito isto, Catarina Alves Costa concorda: "Acho que a minha geração tem uma grande vontade de repensar a relação com as ex-colónias." E agora está em condições de o fazer, diz ela, sem fantasmas. "Em Antropologia" - é que Catarina Alves Costa chegou ao documentário através da Antropologia -, "fala-se muito, agora, de 'pós-colonialismo': ou seja, a ideia de que se pode falar outra vez sem complexos da relação com os países que foram colónias. Mas não se trata do fascínio pelo tradicional africano; é o fascínio pela contemporaneidade. Como é que eles, africanos, estão, quer seja lá ou quer seja aqui", em Portugal.

Será fascínio; será, certamente, curiosidade. No fundo, acrescenta, responder à pergunta "porquê África?" é o mesmo que responder à pergunta: "Porque é que faço documentários?" Ela responde: "Para descobrir um universo qualquer. A ideia de viagem acompanha a história do documentário. É um deslumbramento: podermos viajar. Há sempre uma viagem nos meus documentários" - mesmo que seja a viagem a uma comunidade hindu do Areeiro, em Lisboa, como acontecia em "Swagatan".

"Isso passa por uma experiência de vida. Fazer documentários e viver são coisas parecidas. Estamos muito tempo com as pessoas, estamos muito tempo sem filmar, partilhamos a casa das pessoas, convivemos com elas. Portanto, quando penso num filme que gostava de fazer é sempre para conhecer qualquer coisa que não conheço. Venho de Antropologia, onde a ideia é descobrir o outro, mas sem o estereótipo."

A dança da identidade. Uma experiência de vida; foi mesmo assim "Mais Alma". Começou com o fascínio por um país, Cabo Verde. "Há um entendimento linguístico, uma proximidade, mas simultaneamente uma distância", explica.

Começou mesmo com a ideia de mudança de vida. Ir para Cabo Verde viver. Catarina Alves Costa esteve lá com a família, durante nove meses - viria a ser o tempo de rodagem de "Mais Alma".

Apanhou um festival de teatro, espreitou os ensaios. "Começou a fascinar-me o universo dos artistas de teatro e de dança", num país em que a palavra "artista" não existe. "Encontrei uma maneira de estar, nos ensaios, em que a relação entre a vida real e a ficção não era muito nítida. Eles falavam, mas como eu não sabia crioulo, não percebia se o que estava ali em causa era a ficção ou a realidade. Mas percebia a energia..."

Há essa energia, mas também há a energia de outras histórias: a de um cantor, Orlando Pantera (que entretanto morreu, e por isso a realizadora precisou de algum tempo antes de conseguir olhar para o material na sala de montagem), e da sua busca de uma nova dinâmica de fusão dos géneros musicais tradicionais; há também a história - mas a música, neste caso, é a do silêncio das dunas de areia - de um grupo de acrobatas, os Acrobatas da Pedra Rolada (arredores do Mindelo).

"De um lado, temos a sala de ensaios; no oposto, há a luz, o exterior. Em ambos os casos, a simplicidade: não têm meios nenhuns, a não ser a voz e o corpo. Não acho que seja uma capacidade inata; é mesmo necessidade." É decisivo: um país onde a palavra "artista" não existe.

Do interior para a luz. "Mais Alma" progride, também, das palavras e da música, do dia e da noite, para o silêncio das madrugadas - aquelas imagens, na praia, às seis da manhã, com toda a gente a fazer ginástica. É um silêncio angustiado. Conhecemos um homem, um acrobata, que tem hoje 30 anos e considera, afinal, que está no final da sua carreira. O seu ginásio teve o tamanho de um quarto - a cama tinha de levantar e encostar à parede se ele quisesse exercitar os músculos. Foi aí que treinou os saltos e exercitou os músculos. Ficamos com a imagem dele, silenciosa, a definir coreografias no vazio. A vida, ganha-a agora a distribuir água num camião. Em Cabo Verde "água é vida".

Não é por sabermos, também, que Orlando Pantera morreu que o seu canto parece um pranto. Catarina Alves Costa concorda. Estão todos a esbracejar no vazio, na angustiante dança da identidade. "O Mindelo é mesmo angustiante, não há para onde ir, não há emprego." A realizadora faz uma pausa... "Este filme está num registo mais emocional. No caso do 'Swagatan', estava ali e não me envolvia" - havia uma distância, quase científica. "Aqui, não, envolvi-me completamente." Até porque sentiu da parte dos cabo-verdianos uma necessidade quase desesperada de se exprimirem, de se mostrarem, perante uma câmara de filmar (ao contrário dos hindus), e isso chega a ser transbordante em "Mais Alma".

"O que me interessa", conclui - para voltar à imagem, do filme, em que um cabo-verdiano desenha na pele o mapa de África -, "é o que se está a passar agora, a contemporaneidade de Cabo Verde. Por isso é que este filme é mais sobre eles, sobre a procura de uma identidade africana, é mais sobre isso do que sobre nós e sobre o nosso hipotético fascínio africano."

Mais viagens cinematográficas a África, no B.Leza, no Largo do Conde Barão, em Lisboa, a 500 escudos a sessão: "Calado não Dá", de João Nicolau, e "Mulheres do Batuque", de Catarina Rodrigues, a 26; "Música Tradicional de Santo Antão", de Fernanda Antunes, "Percurso Humbertona" e "Codê di Dona", de Filomena Vera Cruz e "Labanta Tabanka", de José Carlos Fernandes, a 2 de Agosto; "Outros Bairros", de Vasco Pimentel, Inês Gonçalves e Kiluanje Liberdade, a 9 de Agosto, e "Afro Lisboa", de Ariel de Bigault, a 1 6 de Agosto.

"Calado não Dá" é a história do último tocador de Cimboa, violino de uma só corda utilizado para acompanhar os grupos de batuque da ilha de Santiago, em Cabo Verde. "Mulheres do Batuque" foca as mulheres, também da ilha de Santiago, que vivem no Bairro Alto da Cova da Moura e que fazem parte do grupo de batuque Kinka-Pé.

Fernanda Antunes regista os sons e passos que configuram a relação da música que se toca na ilha de Santo Antão com os corpos que a recebem - a morna, a coladeira - em "Música Tradicional de Santo Antão". Em "Codê di Dona", abre-se ao funaná, música mordaz, para os costumes e para os prevaricadores, que tem a sua tradição nos hábitos dos camponeses do interior da ilha de Santiago.

13        Labanta Tabanka

Filomena Cruz faz o retrato de um dos nomes maiores da história da música cabo-verdiana, Humberto Bettencourt ("Percurso Humbertona"), e José Carlos Fernandes, em "Labanta Tabanka", explica o que é isso, a tabanka: uma filosofia de vida, a exteriorização dos sentimentos de integração num grupo em que a música ordena o cortejo e o som dos búzios dá a essência espiritual e é o mote para a marcha.


A Avó Mima tem 113 anos e vive na Ilha do Fogo. Como tantas outras mulheres de Cabo Verde subiu as escarpas do vulcão à espera da chuva.

Mas não choveu.

Caminhou na beira praia a sonhar "mil viagens". Mas não partiu.


Hoje, com as lembranças em fumo, a Avó Mima já não sabe dos baleeiros da brava nem da "ora di bai" de Eugénio Tavares. Desses dias no entanto...

... Já os "claridosos" fincaram versos na terra navegando no mar de aquém...

... Já Onésimo Silveira e Baltasar Lopes foram eco dos gritos de dor e saudade do caminho de S. Tomé.


E, ditas em criolo ou em português, pintadas com tons de magia ou raiva, mais palavras se levantaram.


Mas, como diz Corsino Fortes, "já não somos os flagelados do vento leste".

Só a Avó Mima não consegue entender.



realizador Carlos Brandão Lucas

ficha técnica

Realização: Carlos Brandão Lucas;

Produção: Marina Brandão Lucas;

Fotografia: Pedro Jardim;

Assistente Realização: Marcos Mattos;

Pós-Produção- Video: António Carlos Preza/Casa das Máquinas;

Pós-Produção Audio:José Raposo/Sound Station




15        “Ilha dos Escravos”

Novo filme de Manso



Francisco Manso, um realizador “quase” cabo-verdiano


FRANCISCO Manso, o realizador português do filme “O Testamento do Senhor Napumoceno”, cujo argumento parte do romance homónimo do escritor cabo-verdiano Germano Almeida, vai dar início em breve à rodagem dum novo filme, “A Ilha dos Escravos”, que terá como cenários, além de Santiago, a Bahia, no Brasil, e Lisboa.


A nova longa-metragem de Francisco Manso ganhou apoio brasileiro depois de e ganho, em Novembro, o concurso-protocolo luso-brasileiro para a produção de filmes, e, de novo, contará com um elenco dos mais importantes actores brasileiros, a contracenar com actores cabo-verdianos e portugueses.


Francisco Manso triangula assim a Rota dos Escravos, tendo como elo central a Cidade Velha, onde boa parte do filme será rodado.


O Gabinete do Primeiro-Ministro, a quem o realizador apresentou o guião no fim da tarde de quinta-feira, emitiu uma nota considerando que “A Ilha dos Escravos” irá “projectar a imagem e a cultura cabo-verdianas”, revelar a ilha de Santiago e a Cidade Velha, “cruzando uma história baseada em factos reais que envolvem ainda o Brasil e Portugal”. O filme, acrescenta a nota, trará para o real “a verdadeira cooperação artística e cultural” no espaço lusófono.


Francisco Manso é realizador, produtor e argumentista e realizou já “O Cantar do Alentejo”, “A Epopeia dos Bacalhaus”, “Nostalgia “, “Tesouros Reais Portugueses”, “Terra Nova, Mar Velho”, “Do Porto Santo à Madeira”, “Funchal –

Um Primeiro Olhar” “O Testamento do Senhor Napumoceno da Silva Araújo” e “Clandestinos”.


16        “Viola Pó” de Mito, doc., Cabo Verde, 2002, 8’ 40”

17        “Mostram bu luz” de Mito, doc., Cabo Verde, 2001, 5’ 09”

18        “Na pundi ki bu naci pa nácia” de Mito, videoclip, Cabo Verde, 2001, 7’ 59”

19        O Arquitecto e a Cidade Velha” de Catarina Alves Costa, doc., Portugal, 2003, 72’

20       “O espírito de Angra” de Carlos Brandão Lucas, doc., Portugal, 2003, 52’